Columns

Beneath the Hoodie

July 11, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

Let’s call him Isaac because that’s not his name. He lives in a sweatshirt, a hoodie that hides his eyes so he can feel invisible. But, he’s not invisible; he’s just hiding. It’s rather like putting on a mask and pretending to be blind, deaf, unable to speak and broke. All at once.

It keeps folks from talking to you.

All except one.

She’s a teacher, a Christ-following teacher who believes that compassion is God’s gift to be shared. Without limit.

Defending the Faith

July 11, 2017 / Seth Pierce

This summer I have the burden of traveling to Oxford University for my doctoral residency to study the writings of C.S. Lewis. I realize that many of you will feel immediate sympathy for me as I wander the ancient streets of London, peruse ancient manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, and enjoy meals where Lewis and The Inklings (which included J.R.R. Tolkien) gathered.

An Autopsy of Our Death

July 11, 2017 / Martin Weber

Death is the only certainty of life in this world. Yet death is a defeated enemy. In almost taunting words, Scripture declares, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” and “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55, 57).

Let’s do an autopsy of death and see how it met its demise through the victorious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Moving Forward Together

July 11, 2017 / John Freedman

When I was a newly baptized Seventh-day Adventist young adult, I had family and friends who were not in the church. The Holy Spirit had poured the love of Christ into my heart, and my first impulse was to share with each of them the eternal good news I had found.

Traffic

July 11, 2017 / Steve Vistaunet

I will drive miles out of my way to avoid stop-and-go traffic. Life is too short, I reason, to spend valuable moments gazing up someone’s tailpipe. It’s exhausting.

But sometimes this blessed journey we call church can feel like bumper-to-bumper traffic. This is how the wheels turn in our representative process. Papers are written, committees are formed, motions are made, programs are launched. We lay claim to new horizons an inch at a time.

Dead?

June 24, 2017 / Dick Duerksen

“If I go to heaven immediately when I die, why stay alive?”

It’s a question I’ve heard numerous times in my ministry. Usually asked by someone who is on hospice care, whose cancer has just been pronounced inoperable or whose family is far away and disinterested. Seldom does this question come from someone who feels the daily love of family and friends.

Life Markers

June 24, 2017 / Seth Pierce

At the time of this column I am wrapping up my second year of Ph.D. studies (and, no, I am not almost done). This semester’s final torture came in the way of a qualitative study involving conversion narratives. Our class interviewed 36 people about their conversion looking at common themes and questions asked during their process. While I will spare you the technical details — since they are reserved for an academic conference this fall — one common trait stuck out and has given me cause for reflection both as a pastor and a believer.

First-Degree Grace

June 24, 2017 / Martin Weber

Football all-pro Aaron Hernandez had everything to live for, seemingly. His starring Super Bowl performance earned him a $41 million contract extension. He had it made!

Then weeks later he was charged with (and ultimately convicted of) murder. Life behind bars was not what he signed up for, and he eventually committed suicide in his jail cell.

Essential Suffering

May 23, 2017 / Seth Pierce

Nothing heralds a holiday like stores loading their shelves with celebration-specific sweets three months prior to said holiday. The day after Halloween, Christmas candy is placed on display, the day after Christmas we are treated to Valentine’s Day candy, and after V-Day sugary Easter goodness glistens and beckons for us to consume it.

My personal favorite is Cadbury’s chocolate eggs. The bite-sized chocolate covered in a crisp candy shell. The texture of that candy shell crunching in my mouth is a delight I wait the entire year for.

My Salvation Army Funeral

May 23, 2017 / Martin Weber

Blessed are the peacemakers.

You never know who will show up at a funeral. Men who normally didn’t attend church listened as I eulogized Scottie, one of the regulars at our daily homeless ministry before he drank himself to death. His buddies were scattered throughout the Salvation Army chapel for the memorial service, along with my clergy colleagues in the community.

Scottie was of infinite value to God and to us, I explained to the group. Suddenly, Sam’s drunken hollering interrupted.